On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki declared she is not aware of a damning report from the Washington Post regarding the crisis in Afghanistan.
During the press briefing, Philip Wegmann, White House reporter of RealClearPolitics, mentioned the report published by the Washington Post related to the U.S. operations in Afghanistan.
Taliban offered to stay out of the city of Kabul and allow the U.S. to secure it, but the U.S. declined
According to the report, the Taliban offered to stay out of Kabul and allow the U.S. forces to secure the city. However, the U.S. declared they only needed the airport in Kabul to complete its mission.
Psaki was then asked by Wegmann whether this report from the Washington Post was accurate. The press secretary then claimed that she hadn’t seen the report from the Post and would later look into it.
.@PhilipWegmann: "The Washington Post reports that the Taliban offered to stay out of Kabul & let the United States forces secure the city. We told them that we only needed the airport. Is that reporting accurate?"
Psaki: "I have not seen this reporting. I have to look at it." pic.twitter.com/5lxmaSj8IU
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 30, 2021
The Post reported how the Taliban swiftly seized Afghanistan in the middle of the withdrawal of U.S. troops. According to the Post, the Taliban were aware of the desire of Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, despite the rapid collapse of the Afghan government.
Thus, the Biden administration was offered by the Taliban to secure the whole city of Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan fled the country. However, Commander General Kenneth McKenzie told the Taliban that the mission of the United States was only to evacuate Americans, Afghan allies, as well as others who are at risk.
Right on the spot, the Taliban and the U.S. reached an understanding that the Taliban would take control of the city; meanwhile, the U.S. could only have the airport until the August 31 deadline.
Taliban had no intention of controlling Kabul before President Ghani fled Afghanistan
The report from the Washington Post also added that the Taliban did not have any intention of taking control of Kabul before the Afghan president fled the country; the United States didn’t anticipate this either.
After Ghani left, someone has to step in; however, the U.S. decided that the Taliban should take over instead of them. Muhammad Nasir Haqqani, a Taliban commander, was likewise surprised by the decision. The commander and his men reached the city, awaited instructions, and then later on that same day, they occupied the area.
Here is the Washington Post story in question. Also, as @McCormackJohn first noted, @WHCOS liked a tweet that read "we were right not to take over security in Kabul when the Taliban asked if we wanted to." https://t.co/4fYk1DKf1u
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) August 30, 2021
Haqqani added that when they arrived, they did not see a single police officer or soldier. He said the Taliban were so happy and could not control their emotions, crying for joy. The Taliban commander likewise noted that they did not expect to take over the city so quickly.
However, compared to Psaki, Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, seemed to be familiar with the report from the Washington Post. He was seen liking a Twitter post of Josh Marshall, defending the decision of the Biden administration as outlined in the news reported by the Post.